Going wild in Hong Kong
Saturday night however saw Cape Town Clipper in the limelight. Die Stoep, in Cheung Sha, hosted an evening of South African celebration under the auspices of the South African Consulate General.
Mr. Nills Flatten, Chairman of the South African Business Forum, welcomed the guests, which included Vice-Consul (Administration and Consular) Floyd Thamela Jele, and paid special tribute to the skipper and crew of Cape Town Clipper who had taken a taxi, an hour's ferry ride, then bussed across the island to the idyllic beach setting.
Skipper Roger Steven-Jennings introduced some of the members of his crew, namely Jamie Jones, Val Lyness and Mark Sandall, and was presented with a Hong Kong flag, which had been signed by the evening's guests. After a wonderful evening of volleyball, traditional SA food and much wine and beer, the partying then continued back in Hong Kong Central where the crowd were joined by Acting Consul General Thivhilaeli E Makatu.
If the rapturous SA welcome here in Hong Kong is anything to go by, the crew of Cape Town Clipper have much to look forward to when they sail into Cape Town in June!
The induction of New York Clipper's new skipper, Ross Daniel, is now in full swing. Having arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday afternoon, he met crews at the RHKYC before heading to an Egyptian restaurant with friend and fellow skipper, London Clipper's Rory Gillard… Certainly friends on shore, but do expect a fierce rivalry to show once the Clipper fleet sail from Hong Kong on the popular San Fernando Race!
Sunday was another busy day at the Yacht Club, breezy too. Many of the Clipper crews jumped at the opportunity to get back out on the water - joining local racing crews on a pursuit race involving Magic 15s, Etchells and the impressive FreeFire, a 70 foot ULDB Sled.
As the Clipper fleet marvelled at the concept of going sailing for five hours and coming home to a hot shower and a bar, rather that going off watch to cook for fifteen, some were lucky enough to catch a ride. From ocean racing to round the cans chasing, a refreshing change!
A beaming Rory Gillard took line honours with the team that he had actually raced with before, having surprised us all by going out racing the day he arrived here in Hong Kong.
Excitement is building as lots of new faces arrive in the yacht club. This is a major changeover point in the race, with some boats gaining up to six new crew. This brings a breath of fresh air into the fleet and new jokes, news from home and new books always go down a treat! It does however mean that there are a lot of goodbyes to say.
Suddenly some of the major characters of the fleet are no longer standing at the bar or singing on the stage, faces that you assume you will see are no longer there. This being the nature of the race, crew get used to changes at the end of each leg, however, for some ‘Round the Worlders’ it will mean a total change in the personality of what has now become their home.
Before we turn the page and start the second half of this race, we would like to wish everyone who is leaving Clipper in Hong Kong, "Bon Voyage, see you in Liverpool in September!"